To better understand changes in the intonation patterns of speakers of African American Language and European American English over time, the current study compares the intonation patterns used during recent sociolinguistic interviews of 12 natives of Raleigh, North Carolina, with those used on archival recordings of 12 formerly enslaved African Americans and European American Confederate-era speakers. Both generations of speakers are balanced across sex and ethnicity. To interpret the intonation patterns, a modified version of the ToBI transcription of Mainstream American English was used, and an analysis of intonation in conversational speech at the level of intermediate phrase boundaries (L– and H–), as well as the type and relative frequency of two pitch accents (H* and L+H*), was conducted. Results indicate that for pitch accents there are persistent and subtle differences between these two ethnolects over time, with African American Language speakers of both generations producing more pitch accents per syllable than their European American English speaking counterparts, while also showing a preference for the L+H* pitch accent. Intermediate phrase boundaries show less differences across generations, highlighting the complex relationship for these two varieties with respect to intonation over time.

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